'I was visited by a ghost in the middle of the night in a hotel in Venice'

First holiday memory?

The smell of the sea in Galway. I grew up in the west of Ireland and Galway was our local seaside resort. We'd go for one day of the year during the summer, and I have enduring memories of the sand and the sea.

Best holiday?

A holiday in Costa Careyes, on Mexico's Pacific Coast, and sailing around the Greek islands on a fishing boat.

What have you learnt from your travels?

That travel is inspiring, educational and exciting.

Ideal travelling companion

The fashion stylist Isabella Blow - there's never a dull moment travelling with her. We have travelled together several times to locations all over the world. She recently came to Ireland with me and we provided her with a police escort from the airport, because if anyone deserves one, she does. After leaving the airport she realised she had left her luggage and had to turn around.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

Beach bum and culture vulture. I particularly like to travel for work because you see a completely different side of the country you're visiting. You can interact with the people who live there and you get a very different perspective of the place. You always see a better side of where you're visiting when a local shows you around.

Greatest travel luxury?

No phones. I have also had the privilege to fly private - it's like taking a cab.

Holiday reading?

Autobiographies. I recently bought Elizabeth: the Queen Mother in Dubai airport of all places.

Where has seduced you?

The new Reethi Rah Resort in the Maldives, where I went with Vivienne Westwood. It's pretty incredible, the water is beautiful and it's extremely luxurious. The most impressive thing beyond the fantastic facilities was that the people were so friendly and genuine.

Worst travel experience?

Encountering a ghost in Venice. It was the first time I had been and I was staying in a run-of-the-mill tourist hotel. I woke up in the middle of the night feeling like someone had their hand over my mouth, but I didn't feel freaked out and I realised that nobody had been in my room. I checked out first thing the next morning and into the Gritti Palace.

Better to travel or arrive?

Arrive. I travel a lot: in the past month I have been to Italy twice, Hong Kong, mainland China, Ireland and France. I do enjoy flying, though.

Best hotel?

The new G hotel in Galway, for which I designed the interiors. It takes its inspiration from the sea and has some of the most beautiful and important photographic images of the 20th century, from Irving Penn to Cecil Beaton. There is also a Linda Evangelista suite because she insisted on it and because she is the most super of the supermodels.

Favourite walk/swim/ ride/drive?

Swimming in the Bahamas,

where the sea is like a hot bath. It is the best sea I have come across.

First thing you do when you arrive somewhere new?

Swim in the sea.

Best meal abroad?

Thai food anywhere in Thailand.

Dream trip?

The moon.

Favourite city?

Rome and London equally. In Rome, I particularly love the history, churches, sculptures and architecture and the fact that you can walk along a tiny cobbled street and turn the corner to find the Trevi Fountain. London is evocative of other eras and full of history. There's always something fantastic to do. Brighton is similar in that it's a historic seaside city reminiscent of another era. I love the faded glamour.

Where next?

Las Vegas. It's one of my favourite places in the world and I love neon so it's the place for me. You can have a great time and you never bump into someone you know. The hospitality is accelerated by 500 per cent.

The G, Galway (00 353 91 865 200; www.monogramhotels.ie)